sky’s the limit

The only way was up when it came to cre­at­ing more space in this Sur­rey Vic­to­rian semi

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture KAREN WILSON Pho­tog­ra­phy FIONA WALKER-ARNOTT

Af­ter ren­o­vat­ing a two-bed­room maisonette at the age of 23, il­lus­tra­tor Kat Man­nell had plenty of de­sign nous un­der her belt when the time came to move again. ‘We made of­fers on three prop­er­ties, but this one had the big­gest gar­den, orig­i­nal fire­places and scope to ex­tend, so it was our first choice,’ says Kat, who lives in this house with her hus­band, Do­minic, their chil­dren, Ruby, seven, and Molly, five, plus Cock­apoo Harry.

Al­though the decor was not to Kat’s taste – Ruby’s bed­room had a pur­ple pearles­cent fire­place and or­ange car­pets, while the sit­ting room fea­tured a red chim­ney breast and dark stained floor­boards – she was not daunted by the work ahead. Plans were quickly drawn up to con­vert the loft into a main bed­room with en-suite shower room. This meant knock­ing out the chim­ney breast to ac­com­mo­date a new stair­case. ‘We had to lose the orig­i­nal fire­place in Molly’s bed­room, un­for­tu­nately, but we were able to keep the other three,’ says Kat.

How­ever, the project was not with­out its chal­lenges. ‘The builders for­got to put a roof light in the stair­well, which meant they had to cut through the new roof,’ ex­plains Kat. ‘They also or­dered the wrong win­dow for the en suite and mis­cal­cu­lated the size of the be­spoke stair­case, so the job took five months in­stead of three.’ Luck­ily, Do­minic had taken some cour­ses in DIY so was able to tackle the plumb­ing, tiling and electrics for the new en suite him­self, which saved time and helped keep costs down.

Al­though the cou­ple love the fin­ished con­ver­sion, they chose a dif­fer­ent builder, Martin Williams of Williams De­sign and Build, for the se­cond tranche of work

down­stairs. Be­cause the tiny kitchen was sand­wiched be­tween the din­ing room and a bath­room, it des­per­ately needed open­ing up. ‘Do­minic loves to cook, so such a small kitchen just wasn’t prac­ti­cal,’ says Kat. ‘The green tiles and walls didn’t work for us, and it felt dark and draughty with a sta­ble door and just one sin­gle-glazed win­dow.’

The so­lu­tion was to knock through to cre­ate a large kitchen-diner. ‘I’m so glad we went with Martin’s idea to add a picture win­dow and skylight,’ says Kat. ‘They both let in so much light and the large win­dow is great for keep­ing an eye on the chil­dren when they’re play­ing in the gar­den.’

As she pre­vi­ously worked in an in­te­rior de­sign store, Kat had lots of ideas about how she wanted her home to look. ‘I stuck to a mono­chrome colour pal­ette, com­bined with el­e­ments of green, blush and mus­tard,’ she says. ‘So each room has its own look, yet also ties in with the rest of the house.’

Rather than plan­ning ev­ery tiny de­tail, Kat prefers to source one item she loves as a start­ing point for each room. ‘In the bath­room it was the yel­low tiles, which I found by chance,’ she says. ‘I’ve kept the rest of the scheme sim­ple so they stand out.’

As an in­te­ri­ors blog­ger, Kat is al­ways find­ing in­spi­ra­tion for small up­dates she can do. ‘I’m itch­ing for an­other project,’ she says, ‘ but I’m re­ally happy with the fin­ished re­sult – we all love this home.’

de­sign tip ‘Mix prac­ti­cal­ity with aes­thet­ics when you have chil­dren. I think I’d avoid white tiles next time!’

DIN­ING area el­e­ments of blush and a few per­sonal touches soften the mono­chrome scheme. Walls painted in Set­ting Plas­ter es­tate emul­sion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Far­row & Ball. Penn oak ch­est of draw­ers, £ 499, is sim­i­lar; Hue pen­dant shade in White Clay and Cop­per, £29; Rita ta­ble lamp in Cop­per and Mar­ble, £79, all Made.comen­trance as there is no hall­way, Kat has ded­i­cated a cor­ner to tak­ing off shoes and coats. Mor­ton con­sole ta­ble, £297, Blue Sun­tree, is sim­i­lar. Nor­raker bench, £ 40, Ikea. Bhurma cush­ion cover, £23, Holly’s HouseSIT­TING ROOM this room was dec­o­rated sev­eral times be­fore Kat set­tled on a muted pal­ette. Walls painted in Rail­ings es­tate emul­sion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Far­row & Ball. Zinc two-seater sofa, £929, DFS. Vilma stool, £76, Maisons du Monde. Jessie leaning book­case, £110, Habitat

MOLLY’S BED­ROOM Al­though this room was par­ti­tioned to al­low for a stair­case to the loft con­ver­sion, there’s still am­ple space for Molly to play. The blue-green walls are the per­fect back­drop for vin­tage-style fur­ni­ture. walls painted in oval room blue es­tate emul­sion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Far­row & ball. Large flag bunting, £ 4 a let­ter, rosie Meringue. rain­bow print, £15, eleanor bowmer. happy hop­scotch rug, £72, Maisons du MondeOF­FICE AREA The space un­der the eaves at the front of the main bed­room has been used as a desk area where Kat can work on her be­spoke, hand-drawn cre­ations for her Etsy shop, Art House Il­lus­tra­tions. black pom-pom gar­land, £32, bo­hemia De­sign, is sim­i­lar. try Palm Leaves poster, £7, De­se­nio. Neo metal ta­ble lamp in Cop­per, £39, Cult Fur­ni­ture, is sim­i­lar. Moppe mini ch­est of draw­ers, from £15, Ikea

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